Lorence L. Bravenec BA 1957, LLB Texas Law 1960, LLM New York Law 1970: Taught at Texas A&M College of Business 1980–2010, Mayor College Station, 1986–1990.
Ellen Clarke Temple, BA English and History, 1964: COLA Dean’s executive Council for past 20 years, including building campaign and current capital campaigned. Established Ellen Clarke Temple chair in Women’s History in the History Department. Producer of “Citizens at Last”, PBS Documentary Film.
Steven Kendrick, BA 1972: I went to UT to become a lawyer; Perry Mason was my hero. About 6 semesters in towards my Govt BA, I was advised to take some electives. My advisor said, “Take some computer science. It will be good for your logic skills.” I did. I liked CS. I made good grades in CS. I graduated with 15 hours of CS and went to work in CS instead of moving on to Law School. About 10 to 15 years after graduating, I realized what my advisor did. He was looking at my transcript and saying to himself, “This kid needs a different career path. He will never get into Law School with these grades!”
LuAnn Wilkerson, MA English, 1972: After leaving UT, I completed an EdD from the University of Massachusetts and have enjoyed a career as a faculty member and senior administrator in academic medicine. After time at Harvard Medical School, The University of California at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, I returned to Austin as a Professor of Medical Education and Associate Dean for Evaluation and Faculty Development at Dell Medical School. As a Texas Ex, it has been great to return home. https://dellmed.utexas.edu/directory/luann-wilkerson
Jay Silberberg, BA Plan II, 1974: After 39 years with Mountain Bell, which became US West which was bought by Qwest which was bought by CenturyLink which acquired Level3 and changed its name to Lumen Technologies, I am retiring on August 8. I’m looking forward to spending more time with our five grandchildren, all of whom are in Denver where I live with my wife. We’ve been married 45 years! We hope to travel more, and I will play more duplicate bridge, which I learned living at Castilian as a freshman.
Larry Stybel, MA Psychology, 1974: Psychology Today publishes Larry Stybel’s perspectives on leadership and career management each month. His articles on these topics have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, California Management Review, Directorship, Harvard Business Review, and MIT Sloan Management Review. He is co-founder of the retained search Stybel Peabody Associates, Inc.
John Schwartz, BA Plan II, 1979: After four decades in journalism, most recently as a climate change reporter at The New York Times, I’ve returned to Austin as a professor of journalism at UT. I’m also associate director of the Global Sustainability Leadership Initiative, a collaboration between the Moody College of Communications and the McCombs School of Business. One of my best moments in last semester’s Reporting on the Environment class: Two of my students who are Plan II/journalism double majors said my class felt like a Plan II seminar.
Paul Szurek, BA Government, 1981: I recently completed a five-plus year term as CEO (and eleven-plus year term as a director) of CoreSite Realty Corporation, which was sold to American Tower Corporation in December 2021. When I graduated from Texas in 1981 and went off to law school, I never expected that my career would be almost entirely spent in managing largish businesses, including stints as CFO of publicly-traded Security Capital Group (NYSE), managing director of publicly-traded Security Capital U.S. Realty (Luxembourg/Amsterdam/NYSE) and CFO of Biltmore Farms, LLC, a large private developer in North Carolina. Current COLA students and recent graduates may be surprised at the diversity of paths in which the critical thinking and reasoning skills, especially the ability to be evidence-based, can be deployed after graduation.
Janine May Hand, BA Government, 1988: After UT, I graduated with a MHA from SWTSU and spent 25 yrs as a healthcare executive. In 2012, I retired from healthcare and with my husband, Cliff, we started Recherche Furnishings, Inc. We manufacture custom rustic home decor using TX reclaimed wood. We won the 2015 Business of the Year for Keep Texas Beautiful for our recycling efforts. We moved our company to our longhorn ranch in NE TX in 2016. Currently we have customers in 49 states and 5 countries. I continue to be active with UT through football season tickets (almost 30 yrs) and still run the APO TX Flag during 1 home game annually.
Ginger Susman, BA Government, 1990: I founded Providio MediSolutions, LLC in 2011 in Englewood, CO (provider of lien resolution and escrow services for mass tort settlements). I sold the company to Houston-based ARCHER Systems, LLC in 2019 and am now Co-Executive Chair of same. ARCHER is ARCHER is the leading provider of innovative and comprehensive pre- and post- settlement services for mass tort and class action cases. We currently manage over $8 billion in settlement funds primarily in cases involving defective medical devices, environmental pollution (e.g., forever chemicals), and injuries arising from pharmaceutical use. I live in Denver, CO with my husband Jeff and two kids Carter (12) and Sloane (10). I love traveling back/forth to the ARCHER offices in Austin and Houston to see many of my college friends and remain connected to TX. In my free time I travel extensively overseas, love to cook/entertain, ski, hike and play pickleball.
Cris Gibson, BA Philosophy, 1995: After receiving my philosophy degree, I wasn’t sure what I would do. I left Austin for San Francisco and got a job at a print shop estimating print jobs. When I came back to Austin a few years later, I wound up at a semiconductor design company. Eventually I landed in Operations/Supply Chain as a product planner. Funny enough, my philosophy background comes in very handy. Engineers are very logical, and if you can keep your facts/numbers in order, there’s a lot of room for non-technical individuals. I’m currently involved in new product planning.
Sharon Cohan, BA Plan II Honors, 1996: Founded a pandemic response equity nonprofit, TogetherAustin, in April 2021. Our first major project, VaxTogetherAustin, has helped deliver vaccine education and outreach, distribute thousands of free home covid test kits, and put around 20,000 shots in arms. While we will be continuing vaccine equity/pandemic response work with the funding of several grants through April 2023, are now working on our next big project for TogetherAustin, which will focus on rebuild and restore efforts and addressing systemic equity issues. On a personal note, excited to have our son Alex graduating Plan II Honors this spring and daughter Katie will be an incoming dual major Plan II Honors/ College of Natural Sciences Human Development and Family Sciences freshman in the fall.
Karl Gerard Brandt, BA History, 1997: I wrote a book about the rise of modern partisanship in the United States, “Rise of the Partisan House of Representatives”. This book argues that a Congressional Reform Movement in the 1960s and 1970s overturned the bipartisan system in the House and facilitated the rise of a partisan system that currently dominates the House and the nation’s politics. This book was published in 2021. This book is my second book. My first book, “Ronald Reagan and the House Democrats”, was published in 2009.
Jennifer Chandler, BA Government, 1997: In addition to president for Dallas, I was promoted to head of philanthropic solutions at Bank of America.
Catherine Ross, PhD English, 1998: I teach English at another UT—UT Tyler—where I am an Associate Professor. I won one of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards (2011).
I was President of the UT Tyler Faculty Senate (2015-16). I have served as Chair of the University of Texas System Faculty Advisory Council (2016-2017; this is the council of all faculty senate presidents from the academic and medical campuses). In 2013, I was chosen as one of the twelve Founding Fellows of the University of Texas System Academy of Distinguished Teachers; as far as we know, there is no other group such as ours in the US.
From 2019-2021 I was the President of the Academy (during which time we put on the first UT System-wide teaching conference).
Amber Russell, BA Psychology, 2002: I founded LOAR PLLC (Law Office of Amber Russell), and we have recovered millions for our clients. Since LOAR has taken off, we started our non-profit, SOAR Texas, and have committed $250,000 to its annual scholarship program. This program provides scholarships to outstanding female students who are the future leaders of their schools, communities, and businesses, with a focus on those who are the first in their family to pursue higher education. The SOAR Scholars will have access to continuing education, professional development, and mentoring.
The applications are currently open for this year’s SOAR Scholars. UT is one of 5 universities included in the program. I am thrilled to be able to help others have the same opportunities at UT Austin that I did. Our success will be watching these women go on to change the world.
Gabrielle Snyder, MA English, 2002: Gabi Snyder’s second picture book, LISTEN, was recently selected as an Oregon Book Award finalist.
Jonathan Muzacz, BA Sociology, 2006: Publishing a massive 700-page book this summer called ATX Urban Art, which promises to be the one and only encyclopedia of graffiti, street art, murals, and mosaics of Austin spanning the last 70 years.
Tony Gaston, BA Psychology, 2009: 1. Returned to Texas two months ago to start a career in Cyber Security for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. 2. Won a Movers & Shakers Award in 2021 for my contributions to DE&I and community service to Cleveland for the past 8 years. 3. Earned my MBA in Information Systems from the University of Toledo in 2014. 4. Taught English abroad in Thailand and Spain for two years. 5. Graduated from UT-Austin in May 2009 as a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar, Texas IP fellow, and Bridging Disciplines Program Ethics Certificate holder that enriched my psychology BA degree.
Christopher Andrew Bailey, BA Rhetoric and Writing, 2011: Since graduating from the University in 2011, I earned my law degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 2017. With helping the under-served community in Beaumont, TX (my home town) in mind, I, along with my law partner, Julliana Reyes (also a UT alum, 2012) started the Bailey Reyes Law Firm. Within months of opening the Firm, we filed a Class Action lawsuit in federal court on behalf of approximately 20,000 students who were defrauded by one of the largest for-profit schools in the nation with 72 locations nationwide, including one in Beaumont.
Denisa Gandara, BA Philosophy and Spanish, 2011: I’m back at UT! I’m an assistant professor in the College of Education.
Halie Pratt, BA History, 2011: Currently pursuing a Master of Public Health at Rutgers University.
Carlos Andres Rincones, BA Government 2011: After graduating with a degree in Government, I worked in a variety of finance roles. Having never set foot in business school, my career path in finance was unconventional. However, I did prove to be competent in developing a broad business acumen. I started at AT&T as a Senior Strategic Pricing Manager, and today I manage a sales territory that spans the Southeast and Midwest United States. My Liberal Arts degree taught me how to read and write, which effectively, taught me how to think. With those tools, there’s nothing a person can’t learn.
Katie Wolters Mayo, BA English, 2012: Katie Wolters Mayo has joined Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) in Austin as Senior Corporate Counsel supporting the company’s rapidly growing Datacenter GPU and Accelerated Processing business unit. Katie was awarded a Master of Laws in Litigation Management during the February 2021 commencement ceremonies at Baylor University School of Law
Angelica Flores, BA Government 2013: After eight years of working as a teacher in public education, I have moved to the corporate world as a learning and development analyst for AIG. The research and critical thinking skills learned at the University of Texas at Austin have allowed me to develop a continuous learning cycle. At AIG, I help people develop the skills needed to be successful and get to be part of a team implementing long-term best practices for employees.
Paulina Price, BA Psychology, 2013: Decided not to continue doing anything relating to psychology. Instead I became an SAP HCM Consultant. Currently I work in Mexico for one of SAP’s global AMS partners. I was able to get a job at my this company because my UT degree opened that door for me, since they had very high hiring standards.
Julia Yelle, MA Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, 2014: My book Cutting-Edge Arts, Fine Sciences: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Innovations, which explores the surprising ways in which the arts and the sciences are mutually reinforcing partners, was published by New Degree Press in 2021.
Elizabeth Keeler, BA English, UTeach, dance minor, 2015: After six years of teaching high school English in Seattle, Washington and Boise, Idaho, I made the difficult decision to leave teaching to seek new opportunities to use and grow my skills. I am now the Impact Manager at Cariloop, a company whose mission is to relieve the stress and anxiety of caregivers; we ensure that no one goes through caregiving alone. I’m grateful for my mentors at the University of Texas for supporting and encouraging me in all of my goals, even if those goals weren’t on a premeditated trajectory.
Clayton Carter, BA, 2017: Clayton Carter has joined Hallett & Perrin in the firm’s construction and litigation practice groups.
Natalie Shanel Lewis, BA Sociology, 2017: Attended law school at Texas Tech University School of Law and passed the July 2021 Bar Exam. Started practicing law at Whitworth Cigarroa, PLLC, in Laredo, Texas, in October of 2021.
Tristan Davantes, BA Government and Philosophy, 2019: I’m in my third year at Rutgers Law School, about to graduate with my Juris Doctor degree. I am a research editor for the Women’s Rights Law Reporter which was started by Justice Ginsburg, and is the first law journal dedicated to addressing women’s issues in the law. Subsequent to taking the bar exam this summer, I hope to return to Texas to start my law practice. Last December, I got married in Austin to a fellow Texas Ex.
Elizabeth O’Brien, Ph.D. History, 2019: Won Fulbright Scholar Award from Fulbright-COMEXUS; won Nursing Clio Award for best article; received book contract from University North Carolina Press.
Shahzur Jafferali, BA International Relations and Global Studies, 2020: After graduating in 2020, I joined Texas Instruments for a 15-month rotation program for Digital Marketing and Communications. Currently, I’ve deployed from the rotation program into my full time role as the Corporate Responsibility Program Manager. In addition, I’ve been managing my food blog (started my senior year) and growing the Instagram following to 3000 followers. Make sure to check out @TheHungryTriooo on IG to stay updated on all my food adventures. Since graduating, I have planned trips to Cancun, Europe, Colorado, California, and internally in Texas – I can’t wait for more!
Deevika Sharma, BA Psychology, 2021: I am excited to share that upon graduation, I was offered a unique opportunity to participate in a career experience with Apple’s Original Content Legal team. I served as the first and only intern where I was able to gain a high level overview on each aspect of Entertainment Law from some of the most respected figures in the field. This opportunity allowed me to make the most of my gap year before law school by giving me relevant experience in the field.
T. Anansi Wilson, Ph.D. African & African Diaspora Studies, 2021: During my first year as a law professor, I was promoted to associate professor. More importantly though, I founded the Center for the Study of Black Life and the Law at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. This is the nation’s first research center at a law school focused specifically on the nexus between Black and BlaQueer (LGBTQ) life and the law. I also have selected to be inducted in the MLK Jr. Consortium of Scholars at Morehouse.
Jose Angel Hernandez, BA English: Jose passed away unexpectedly at the age of 57. Read the full obituary here: https://www.greencremationtexas.com/obit/jose-angel-hernandez/
While attending UT, Jose participated in the Shakespeare at Winedale summer program in 1988 and 1989. He loved trading baseball stories with the program’s director, helping people with their sewing, and performing. His breakthrough role was Snout from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” for which he decided to sing all of his lines in his beautiful baritone voice.
In the early to mid ‘90s, Jose also made a name for himself in UT’s library system serving as a serials assistant (where he enjoyed working with binding repairs), clerical/office assistant and eventually as a library assistant I for the Life Sciences Library, the Physics Mathematics Astronomy Library, the Balcones Library Service Center, the Engineering Library, and the University’s Center for Transportation Research. He also worked at the Mean Bean and as a bakery assistant at a German bakery pursuing one of the many loves of his life, baking and cooking. He would never leave Austin, choosing to make his favorite city his permanent home.
Eventually he would leave the library system to work in theater full time (one of his true passions), becoming a founding company member of Austin’s Rude Mechs in 1996. Jose loved The Off Center and it was common for him to show up with donations of picnic tables, lumber, flats, and mic stands left over from SXSW parties or film shoots. And he was always quick to help with food at benefits or celebrations from crawdads to cheesecakes.
Like most artists, he had doubts about the sustainability of a full time theatre career. A colleague at Rude Mechs suggested that he work part time in film to supplement his income. As a theater purist he was reluctant to delve into pictures although, in time, he was convinced to accept his first film gig as a location permitter. He was a natural.
Equipped with a keen artistic sensibility, and shrewd canniness, he swiftly became one of Austin’s premier location scouts and managers. It was kismet that Jose, a lifetime Longhorn, began working with UT’s Burnt Orange Productions on “The Cassidy Kids” and “A Mighty Heart”. His career continued with iconic Texas film darlings such as “Machete” and Academy Award winner “Boyhood.”
Over the next few decades in the location department, he became a beloved figure in the Austin Film Family. Not only was he admired by his peers, but he also nurtured and mentored countless aspiring filmmakers that would go on to be the next generation of Austin Film. Through his success, he remained true to his community and love for the arts. He knew everyone, and everyone loved him.
In recent years, Jose was a vital member of Plaid Pony Productions, one of hundreds of production companies that he worked with throughout his career. But location and venue management was such a small part of what he brought to Plaid Pony. He was their mascot and cheerleader, parking ninja, permit guru and always quick with a one-liner. He was an instrumental part of their crew, and his light and humor reminded them every day why they got into this business. He shared years of insightful knowledge, experience, and showed unwavering tenacity when faced with the most daunting of tasks. From any set in film, TV, commercial or photography or the many live events–he was always the first to arrive and the last to leave. It was easy to see how well loved he was when you could enter any restaurant, building, property or even random piece of land across Texas and everyone would know his name. The film commission even joked that they wanted to list him as their online Production Directory. Jose would always laugh and say maybe if he ran out of work one day, he would consider it! He shared wonderful moments like this with many across this great state and beyond. Crews near and far are grieving right now, but no doubt will wholeheartedly ensure his legacy lives on. May his memory be cherished by all who had the pleasure of knowing him in the film and production community. “The Ponies” will miss their “Grumpy Pony” and promise that the “Grand Cone Award” will live on in his name and honor.
Jose was also a member of the Tamale House East family. He never really applied to work at Tamale House. He just saw the need, put on his apron and showed up. He had experience, he said, as his family had a restaurant in Abilene. Loved and adored by the employees as well as their customers. If they didn’t know him already, they became fast friends. Jose never complained when the days were long and hard. He would simply do the work that needed to be done with kindness and grace. He often would play Mariachi music really loud and sing and dance, making everyone join in as he reveled in his gente and his cultura. Weren’t we all magnificent? The Tamale House East family saw Jose as a peacemaker, a bridge builder, a problem solver, and a brother. His generosity was legendary. Through many successful careers and a richly lived life, he ended up right where he started—in a small Mexican restaurant, surrounded by family he loved and who loved him right back.
Jose had a puckish grin, indeed a puckish bearing, that signaled to his innumerable friends that he was going to tease them or make them laugh and that issued a challenge for them to try to return the favor. He was a bon vivant, a raconteur, a fount of knowledge, a gourmand, and a stellar performer.
Jose was a huge sports fan, and best of all he loved The University of Texas Longhorns. Whether it was hosting a gathering at his house or a tailgating party near the stadium, he brought all his talents to bear and everyone always had a blast.
Above all, Jose cherished his friendships and loved his family immensely. He and his sister Gerri spoke multiple times a day and texted even more. He stayed close to his parents and was sad to have not seen them as much the last two years because of the pandemic. He shared his love of theater and production with his little sister Christie and her family. He was so proud of his niece Maya and had even introduced her to his production world when they worked together last summer. Jose shared his love of sports with his brother-in-laws Mark and Torkil and he cherished all of his pets who loved him unconditionally.